I did not report
I did not report… because I used to love him, because I still cared about him, because - after many a “No!” - I told him to get that condom…
I did not report because I was wearing my shortest short skirt and my fuck-off don’t fuck with me heels, because being cuddled by him felt like one of the safest places in the world. Because crashing at an old friend’s and ex-boyfriend’s seemed far safer than braving the two night buses and the street where the scary boy follows me home every so often.
I did not report because I was angry at me. I felt that he had betrayed my trust, but that I had got me raped. Or assaulted. Or taken advantage of. Or whatever that grey area is between consent, non-consent and acquiescence. I felt that I had not been there for me.
I still replay the night in my head. I could have left. I have a phone and one can find taxis even in Hackney. I could have moved to the sofa. I… There was no physical violence here, no threats. But
there were words - some angry, years worth of feelings and the fundamental schock of saying No! and having that ignored. It takes two, except when it doesn’t.
Intellectually, i know all I need to know, and yet I do not understand. I know that women tend to appease rather than fight. I know that I am stuck in typical circles of self-blame. Yet…
I did not understand. I still do not understand. He - he who once loved me; he - he who thinks he’s a feminist; he - he knew I was in pain. That bears repeating because it is the one conversation I just cannot rationalise. He knew I was in pain and still…
It finally happened. Seemingly faced with a road with no peaceful exit I did the unthinkable. I was stuck. And I did not fight back. “Why don’t you.. Why don’t you just get a condom …”
I am known for being bolshy, for being feisty, for fighting the good fight. And as the 7am - or was it 5 am - light hit my groggy head, and we’d been drunk, then asleep and then we were awake again and the number of No’s! was getting embarrassing, I had fought back, and I had shouted. And then I was sorry, for one does not shout at friends; and then I tried to pacify, for I could not bear to see him upset. I gave his arm a stroke to say “we are cool, just don’t be a dick”.
And there I was, being soft and kind and warm and pacifying, not realising that for the whole of that past year his attempts to ‘be friends’ were actually attempts to claim me, to take me, to - in his own words - “to exorcise the ghost of our old relationship”, with this one last time. And as I - guard down, soft and kind and trusting - tried to use my words - again! - to extricate myself from this non-consensual exorcism - “hm, why dont you just go, go brush your teeth, you smell” - it was his turn to shout. And I was no longer there.
So as the day came, to save from this hell of a night, he raised his voice with me and I gave up. I gave in. I was not there.
This is why I do not report. It was his turn to shout. And I was no longer there.
SlutWalk London 2012 - Saturday 22nd September 2012, meet 12.30pm at Top of Piccadilly (near Hyde Park Corner).
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SlutWalk London 2012!
Sheila Farmer's prosecution dropped
Photos: Tom Radenz and Claire Butler